Esme Purdie

Esme Purdie


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Personal profile

Research interests

Currently I am working on the TRAFFIC project, part of the cross-Research Council Environmental Exposure and Health Initiative (EEHI). My work is concerned with performing detailed chemical analyses of air polluting particles to  investigate their toxicity and sources, as relatively little is known about  the physiochemical characteristics of these particles or their biological activity. 

Particle size, composition and concentration vary according to emission sources,  atmospheric processes, secondary chemical reactions in the atmosphere, weather conditions and other factors.

I have previously also been involved in the London Low Emission Zone Study, a four-year study designed to assess  the impact of the London Low Emission Zone (LEZ) on the respiratory health of school children in East London.  The impact of the LEZ, with the aim of improving air quality by deterring the most polluting vehicles from  driving in the city, was assessed by conducting health assessments in 8-9 year-old children at selected schools  in Tower Hamlets and Hackney. The health assessment includes measurements of respiratory health, biomarkers of  exposure to traffic-related air pollution, genetic susceptibility to the effects of air pollution, and systemic  response to air pollution

Biographical details

Prior to my appointment within the ERG, I completed a PhD in Environmental Microbiology and Toxicology at  Dundee University in 2010, with a primary focus on natural toxins (e.g. algal/ cyanobacterial toxins), their  production, activity and potential bioaccumulation or trophic transfer within aquatic ecosystems.  Previous to this I completed a BSc (Hons) in Medical Biochemistry, at King’s College London University in 2004.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Analysis, toxicity and occurence of Beta-N-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA), a cyanobacterial neurotoxin, University of Dundee

Award Date: 1 Jan 2010


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